SHOWTIME PREPARES VIEWERS FOR SUMMER OLYMPICS BY PREMIERING "BUD GREENSPAN'S FAVORITE STORIES OF OLYMPIC GLORY" ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 20
Famed Sports Storyteller Looks Back at Emotional Stories of Past Summer Olympic Games
New York, NY, June 28, 2000 - SHOWTIME will prepare viewers for the approaching 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia by exclusively premiering BUD GREENSPAN'S FAVORITE STORIES OF OLYMPIC GLORY on Sunday, August 20 at 10:00 P.M. (ET/PT).
Written, produced and directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning sports chronicler Bud Greenspan, who will also produce the Official Film of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games for SHOWTIME, this 90-minute original documentary present a powerful and emotional look back at individual stories from previous Summer Olympic Games. The film combines rare archival footage with interviews to examine the Olympic experience of five athletes, including Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, American decathlete Dan O'Brien, Australian swimmer Duncan Armstrong, Ethiopian marathon legend Abebe Bikila, and Russian Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin.
His feature on Karelin should have special interest to wrestling fans. This 6 foot 4 inch, 285 pound colossus from Novosibirsk, Russia has dominated the super heavyweight division of Greco-Roman wrestling since 1987. Undefeated for nearly 13 years, Karelin is known for practically terrifying his opponents into submission with his signature move "the reverse body lift." Karelin faced his stiffest competition in America's Matt Ghaffari, narrowly defeating him in the finals at the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Games. The winner of three straight gold medals, Karelin has had the honor of carrying the flag for his nation at the last three Opening Day Ceremonies.
Greenspan previously wrote, produced and directed NAGANO '98 OLYMPICS: BUD GREENSPAN'S STORIES OF HONOR AND GLORY, the Official film of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, which premiered on SHOWTIME in December 1998. That film marked the seventh in a series of inspiring Olympic documentaries by Greenspan and his company, Cappy Productions, Inc. His previous six Olympic films chronicled the Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta Summer Games and the Calgary and Lillehammer Winter Games. Greenspan has become internationally known for his humanistic approach to Olympic filmmaking - featuring both popular and little-known stories of courage, pride and endurance that are often overlooked by the Olympic television coverage. Greenspan has also been call the the foremost writer/producer/director of sports films and one of the world's leading sports historians.
In addition, Greenspan wrote, produced and directed BUD GREENSPAN'S KINGS OF THE RING: FUR LEGENDS OF HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING, a passionate look at the lives of boxers Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali, for SHOWTIME. Greenspan has also committed to producing two additional documentaries for the network including the Official Film of the 2000 SUmmer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and a project to be announced at a later date.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME, THE MOVIE CHANNEL and FLIX. SNI operates nad manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL, which is owned by SNI, Robert Redford and Universal Studios. SNI also markets and distributes sports nad entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis.
The other athletes included in the feature are:
NADIA COMANECI (Romania): 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci scored the first "Perfect 10s" ever at the 1976 Montreal Games. In her two Olympic appearances in Montreal and at the 1980 Moscow Games, Comaneci won 10 overall medals, five of them gold.
DAN O'BRIEN (USA): The 1995 world champion decathlete and the reigning world record holder going into the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, O'Brien was expected to bring home a Gold Medal to the U.S. but found himself in a struggle with an unlikely challenger, 21-year-old Frank Basemann of Germany.
DUNCAN ARMSTRONG (Australia) - In the final of the 200 meter freestyle swimming event at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Duncan Armstrong trailed in third place for most of the race, but on the final lap he caught and passed the favored American Matt Biondi, set a world record, and won the gold medal...one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.
ABEBE BIKILA (Ethiopia) - Abebe Bikila amazed the sports world by winning the 1960 Rome marathon by running the entire distance, 26 miles and 385 yards, without shoes. His Olympic victory was the first ever from an East African nation. Four years later, Abebe won again in Tokyo and became the first person to win back-to-back marathons.